There is a palpable excitement when grandparents meet grandkids; the days are filled with playtime, story time and ‘lazing around time’ for both parties. It goes without saying that if there is anybody who can love your kids just like you, it is the grandparents. Though grandparents are always fun to be around, still kids safety is an area where the grandparents are required to be brushed up on, considering the things have changed a lot since they last took care of a child 24*7. Moreover, if your style of parenting is different than theirs, you need to acquaint them with the safety rules you follow with your kids, least any untoward incident happens.
Let me digress a bit and tell you an anecdote which will support my above given statement. The following incident took place during our stay abroad. Technically it was the first time my five year old daughter was meeting her grandparents (since the last she met them was at her birth). To make the grandparents visit memorable, we decided to take them to a few tourist spots during their month long stay; not to mention that it would also be a great opportunity for the grandchild and grandparents to bond when everyone in the family is in cheerful spirit.
Our flight landed in the destined city and we checked into the hotel room which had an attached kitchenette to it. At noon me and my husband decided to go to swimming pool but my daughter stayed back as she wanted to spend time with her grandparents.
After we left, the granddaughter demanded aaloo parantha (potato pancakes) from her grandmother which she couldn’t refuse. With noble intentions in mind for the whole family, she started full-fledged cooking. A few moments later, right from the pool, we saw a lot of commotion on the floor where our room was situated. First we ignored it but not for long; a member of the hotel staff managed to find us and asked for our immediate presence in the room. Upon reaching we saw the whole room filled with smoke and the staff struggling with the smoke detector. It won’t stop beeping, all thanks to the butter-laden aaloo paranthas. We apologized profusely and the manager went away but not without giving us stern warning. The grandparents were too shaken to say a word and we could do nothing except console them.
My eyes then searched for my daughter. Standing in a corner she cut a figure that was terrifying. A maroon –coloured lipstick was smeared all over her face and three-four curlers were dangling from her hair. May be between the cooking and watching television, her grandparents forgot to pay attention to her while she happily rummaged through my suitcase. The whole incident made me learn a lesson the hard way: It’s always a good idea to talk to the grandparents about certain safety guidelines to be followed when your kid is in his/her grandparent’s company.
So read on for a few nuggets of information I want to share with you on how to make the whole experience enjoyable and safe when either grandparents are visiting your place or you are visiting theirs but first while travelling with them:
a) Apprise the grandparents of the new place you are touring with them, especially if it’s a foreign land. Every place has some rules, regulations and methods of working, which will give them a sense of power if you browse through with the grandparents beforehand . Consider touring the hotel with your kid and his/her grandparents before settling in to make everyone aware of the potential dangers of unfamiliar places, such as unfenced swimming pools or balconies.
b) Before you undertake any trip, it becomes necessary to tell the grandparents of any food or medication allergies your child may have, lest they feed him/her some unwanted item when you are not around.
c) This has nothing to do with safety but still want to mention ; grandparents always have some stories to share about their own travels. Encourage them to share these anecdotes with your child. Talking about their past vacations might teach a thing or two to your child.
While visiting their place –
a) First thing first: child-proof the house whenever the kid is visiting the grandparent’s place. For instance, the moment I land at either my parents or at in-laws place, the first thing I do is to tour the house and make required changes. The two places which I feel calls for utmost attention is the bathroom and kitchen. I remove the blow-dryer; scissors and razors from the bathroom sink and lock away the household cleaning chemicals. In the kitchen any sharp object, matches, lighter are immediately kept out of the kids reach. I also make sure that whenever grandma cooks anything, it is put at the back of stove.
b) Secondly, I ensure that all the medications and cosmetics are secured inside the cupboards. My kids’ grandfather is a doctor, so the stacks of medicine are left lying around everywhere in the house but whenever we plan to visit, I tell them beforehand to take care of this aspect. After all, one can’t keep tab on the small roving hands all the time!
c) I also ask the grandparents to put away their fine china or any delicate piece of item which they don’t want to be damaged before we visit them.
While they visit your place:
Always communicate about your expectations but listen to theirs too to make their whole stay a pleasant experience. Now coming to safety, Make sure you do these while leaving your kid with them- even for few hours:
a) Grandparents cannot keep an eye on the child all the time like the way you do. So before leaving for a dinner and movie- night, make sure you remove the potential hazardous things from the house- even a small rug could make a child trip over while running or the exposed socket might be tempting enough to poke a finger; so take care of such things.
b) Stairs is another dangerous territory, so you might have to devise ways to keep it out of the child’s access. Also show the grandparents the method to block all exit points to the balcony, garden or street.
c) I also make a list of emergency contact numbers – nearby hospitals, friends or relatives and keep it near the phone. This is for my peace of mind just in case the grandparents are not able to reach us timely.
d) If the grandparents take your little one to the nearby park, ask them to supervise him/her constantly lest she engages herself in unsafe behaviour.
As of now I can think of the above given tips only to ensure that the kids and grandparents meeting end on a happy note. Do you have any other to share?
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